Your candidates are busy.
If you don’t make it extremely easy to fit you in, they won’t, and that’s where talent networks come in.
First, they’re probably busy doing their day job. You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating- most of the candidates that might be a great fit for your company are already working elsewhere. Happily employed people are just more open to job opportunities today, so your talent pool is now comprised of more than just active, unemployed job seekers.
Second, they’re busy sifting through all of the awesome opportunities they keep hearing about precisely because 90% of them are always open to talking. Given the current job market conditions, they also have a few more options than usual to look at, so your job opening has a lot more competition.
Candidates feel less urgency
It’s taking longer to fill jobs today than it did in 5 years ago. If the candidates you are targeting are in large part already employed, or have many other options to consider, then they probably don’t feel as pressured to move quickly on a job opportunity. So what happens when they come to your linkedin page, or to your careers site, have a read and then get back to their meetings or their reports?
Talent engagement is so crucial today because it helps recruiters keep that relationship with busy candidates alive, talent networks are the best tool for it.
You’ve probably seen them before, and your team might have one in place. Essentially, a talent network is a group of candidates who might be interested in your company as a potential employer, for now or for an undefined future.
As a talent acquisition team, your goal is to provide a mutually beneficial exchange through this network by giving candidates information and updates about a potential employer, and getting their attention and an opportunity to hire them in return. There are multiple definitions that say more or less the same thing (even a wikipedia entry) but we think the reciprocity is an important piece that sometimes gets overlooked.
What you can do with Talent Networks
A talent network is a great way to form relationships with candidates who are not yet ready to apply, and it doesn’t have to be very sophisticated to start.
A highly targeted email campaign that reacts to the receiver’s engagement can keep the company top of mind until the candidate clicks on a specific job opportunity, for example. A recruiter can then take over from the automated campaign, and move the candidate forward.
Many companies go through the trouble of collecting information from candidates when they join the network, such as background and interests, and then never action on them. Some never contact candidates beyond a welcome email, unless it is to send out a job posting. That experience is closer to a job alert than to an actual network.
Try not to do that by ensuring that all your candidates are automatically assigned to a “default” engagement track even if they don’t fit any of your current target profiles, for example.
Make sure to clarify the purpose of the talent network when they join, and to offer multiple opportunities to ask questions or interact with your team and your hiring managers throughout the relationship. Send out event invites, offer to set up coffee chats or phone calls at regular intervals, or organize webinars where you open the floor for listeners to ask questions.
Talent network setup- a quick checklist
You’ll need a few items set up before you can start your own talent network, both on the front-end and the back-end:
A registration form to collect information from candidates. If you can use social media logins to fill it up, even better. All you absolutely need to start is a name and an email address. You can send requests to fill up additional information later.
A landing page to the Talent network. If people are specifically looking for your talent network, they should be able to find a page that explains a bit about what you do and what the purpose of the network is.
Above is an example from the Mayo Clinic, and we have a few other in this Talent Attraction Lookbook if you’re looking for visual inspiration.
Links and buttons to the registration form on every career site page. The talent network is supposed to make it easy to stay in touch. For that, it has to be everywhere. Candidates have to have the option to quickly type an email before they navigate away from any of your pages.
A platform to manage candidate data and communications. That’s where all of the backend work will happen.
The goal of a talent network is to keep the relationship alive, by sending engaging content, updates about the company, opportunities relevant to the candidate when they come live… For that to work, you need a system that can collect rich candidate profiles, and set up campaigns that are segmented by people’s job preferences, seniority level, region, or skill sets, for example.
You need to also be able to track communications with recruiters, both online and offline. When relationships stretch over months and even years, you need to know to whom your candidate talked, and about what. Did they mention that they were doing a new training? Have they moved locations? Did a current employee meet with them and give a good recommendation?
The quality of the targeting in any talent engagement channel, including talent networks, is heavily tied to the quality of the candidate information you can collect, and to an extent to the flexibility of your CRM and recruitment marketing tools.
However, there are definitely some low-hanging fruits, and you can make your talent network experience enjoyable and useful for all stakeholders with a few changes.
Agile Recruiting: Optimizing your TA Operating Model
We've invited Mitzi Shafar, an experienced talent acquisition leader and currently lead partner at Talent Collective, to tell us about how companies can start implementing an agile recruiting methodology, a driver of talent transformation.